Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Here we talk about all things cycling - training, wattage, group rides, bike rallies, triathlons, weather, coaching, coaches, nutrition, ponderings, musings, and equipment! If you have a topic or a question, send us a note and we'll try to answer for you!
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Master the Plank to Become a Stronger, More Solid Athlete

You’ve probably heard of The Plank and have done it or are currently doing it as part of your program.  And that’s a good thing.

A stronger, more stable midsection can result in better overall posture. It can also contribute to stronger bike positioning and improved run mechanics. When your core is strong, you have a more solid platform for your legs to propel you forward, whether in cycling or running. Core strength also helps delay fatigue and allows for more efficient transfer of power from your upper body to your legs during movement both on and off the bike.

Targeted Muscles: Core, Arms and Shoulders

Tracy trx 101015-0047_copy2HOW TO DO A THE PLANK

1.       Start in a ground position, facing down.

2.       Make a concentrated effort to tighten up the muscles from your toes to your shoulders.

3.       Raise your body up as one unit, so only your forearms and toes are in contact with the ground.

4.       Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.

5.       Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.

6.       Hold with good form until you get tired.

Just starting out?
Modified Plank_copy1

If you are new to strength training, or it has been while since you have done it, go ahead and start with
 a modified version until your body develops the ability to hold the more advanced version.To do the modified version, simply hold the position from your knees instead of your toes, as shown below. When you can properly hold this position for a full minute, progress to the standard position. When you move up a progression, initially reduce the amount of time you attempt to hold the position, then 

The Plank and TRX Suspension Training.
Hold your plank rowandtricep

The Plank Position is the FOUNDATION of most movements on a suspension trainer. That’s because most movements require stabilizing the body as part of the exercise. So… every movement during the suspension workout is also strengthening your core.  

That’s one reason why suspension training is so much more relevant to athletic movement than regular sit-ups and crunches. Developing the strength and stability required by the Plank Position is crucial to performing movements on a suspension trainer with good technique. Here are two examples of the Plank Position being used to support proper technique in other movements.

Compare the straight body position held in the two movements on the suspension trainer shown above, and the plank position at the top of the page.

Suspended Plankallplanks_copy

Here are 3 variations (progressions) of the traditional Plank exercise that can be done on a suspension trainer.

Progress to the straps only after you feel you have mastered the traditional version of the Plank. Note: good form during suspension training movements is EXTREMELY important. Hips need to stay up, don’t let the lower back sag, and keep shoulders soft and back flat (no rounding of the back). It’s easy to start losing form with fatigue, so make this priority focus. Doing Plank variations in front of a mirror will allow you to self-monitor your form.

There is no need to hold the position for minutes at a time. Work up to sets of 45-60 seconds and then progress by adding additional sets or by doing a more advanced progression.


Want more information on suspension training and other function training tools?  

Sign up here for the multi part email course below. 

TRX and Strength Training at CCD

Sign up to get emails introducing you to fun, effective, fitness methods that can be used anywhere, at any level.  You will receive an email every day fro the first 5 days as part of the introduction. At that point you will receive an email every week or two with tips, a featured exercise, or a workout idea or article.  Please don't hesitate to contact me if there is anything in particular you would like to get information on! 
  • TRX Suspension Training,
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Check out the video below for examples of the Plank Variations on the TRX Suspension Trainer, included the Suspended Saw...which I think is one of the most advance progressions(if you are doing it right!). 


What is a Functional Movement Screen?

In this blog post you will learn....

1.    What a Functional Movement Screen is

2.    How it can help prevent injuries and inefficient movement

3.    Who can benefit from it

A Functional Movement Screen is a 90-minute session where you perform a series of functional movement patterns—natural movements like a squat or stepping over a low bar. These are scored based on your mobility for each movement. The patterns range from primitive to more complex as you perform each movement or a modification of it. Here’s what we can identify from your basic movement patterns: 

·  Issues with Mobility

·  Issues with Stability

·  Issues with Strength

·  Asymmetries in abilities between the different sides of your body

fms_copyWhy should I Schedule a Functional Movement Screen?

FMS helps us identify areas where you can get the best gains in strength, mobility and overall fitness—and more important, develop a plan to make those gains a reality. You will find yourself moving better in your daily life as well as making more progress with your exercises and active endeavors. 

Having a strong movement foundation allows you to have greater freedom of movement and the ability to respond to expected (and sometimes unexpected) demands of daily living. It will also help prevent injuries before they occur.

What do we do with the information from the screening? 
Based on the data we get; we can develop a plan together to help improve any issues we find. There is no “passing” or “failing” this screen. The information allows us to develop a personalized approach to effectively improving your fitness and movement abilities.

Over years of working with clients, we have found the FMS to be the most effective way to develop and implement personal fitness programs that work for people of all abilities, from just-starting-out to elite athletes.

If you are in any of the following categories, it is especially important to make sure you have a strong movement foundation:

·  You are just starting an exercise program

·  You are currently exercising

·  You have a sedentary job or lifestyle

·  You have had an injury and are now recovered


You wouldn't build your dream house on a cracked foundation.  
Don't build your performance and fitness on one.  

Pain is trying to tell you something...

Thanks to modern medicine and pharmaceutical companies, we have opportunities to reduce or cover up painful movement. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Whether we’re talking about painkillers or anti-inflammatories, wraps or braces, these should commonly be relied on as training aids.

But pain is the symptom of a problem. Covering it up by taking pills and gels will simply dull your movement senses, further contributing to poor movement patterns and dysfunction.

You wouldn’t ignore the service light when it goes off in your car, and you shouldn’t ignore the warning when it goes off in your body. Finding out what causing the symptom and if possible, fixing it at the source is the best plan of action. If this is not possible, we want to make sure the surrounding areas of the body stay strong and balanced and can function at their optimal capacity


A movement screen and corrective exercise plan reduces the risk of injury that can result from deficient movement, clearing the way for a training program to get you the results you are looking for. You’ll be able to build building (or rebuild) your fitness on the strongest foundation possible. 


Sign Up HERE to get your Functional Movement Screen and and Corrective Exercise Program scheduled today. 

"Getting a Functional Movement Screen helped to identify some flexibility issue with my hamstrings and the subsequent recommended exercises have not only helped me improve in that area, but also has given me some relief of some lower back pain I am dealing with."

-Paul Dybala

"I had been a competitive athlete for most of my life. About two years ago, after going through a period of several years living a mostly sedentary lifestyle, I decided to take up road cycling to get myself back in shape. I quickly realized that the flexibility and core strength I had once taken for granted in my previous athletic pursuits was gone.

Early on I developed lower back/shoulder tension and just couldn't seem to loosen up. Then I began training with Tracy and Richard at Cycling Center Dallas. Tracy performed a Functional Movement Screening where she found where I was lacking in my basic movement and flexibility. Afterward I started a regimen of targeted stretching, core work and TRX strength training.

In the year since that screening and beginning the training I have seen a drastic improvement in both my flexibility and strength. I began racing competitively earlier this year and I have gained enough flexibility and core strength that I have been able to adopt an extremely aggressive setup on the bike, which would have been impossible this time last year. I credit most of this to the training and tools made available to me through Coach Tracy and Coach Richard at Cycling Center Dallas. If you are serious about improving your power on and off the bike, your first move should be training with Cycling Center Dallas. "

-Travis Pope

After several knee surgeries and a back surgery, I’ve come to the realization that I would need to focus  on non-impact sports such as cycling.   Initially, I was not aware that cycling requires flexibility, muscle balance, and core strength but noticed the struggles that relatively fit people had cycling on rolling trainers.  Knowing how inflexible I was, I was intrigued with the Functional Movement program offered at the Cycling Center of Dallas so I enrolled in an introductory session.

The analysis done by Tracy proved what I suspected…that I needed significant improvement in functional movement.   I purchased several additional sessions    Each hourly session is comprised of flexibility and strength training.  Each exercise works multiple muscle groups and appears to be extremely efficient at building my functional movement.      I feel I get more of a “health improvement” workout in one of these one hour sessions than I’ve received from other personal training sessions”.

-Steven Sands